Honestly, rice makes us a little emotional. Rice was one of the first cultivated foods in the world, and it’s the fundamental base of many different cuisines that we love. Rice has spread all over the world since it was first cultivated over 13,000 years ago. Today, there are nearly 40,000 cultivars of rice, and almost as many cooking methods. If you have a tried and true rice method that you love, stick with it! If you’re never happy with the way your rice turns out, consider this tip: try cooking rice like pasta.
Well-cooked rice should be soft, but not mushy. Each grain should retain its individual structure, but it shouldn’t be too dry. Overcooked rice will boil apart into a soupy mess. Undercooked rice won’t absorb sauce as well, and can cause digestive issues. We have six different types of rice in our pantry: white long grain, jasmine, brown, carnaroli, sushi, and a red rice blend. These rices all have slightly different husks, starches, and protein content. All of this affects the cooking time and technique.
How to cook rice like pasta:
- Fill a medium pot ¾ of the way full with water
- Add a generous pinch of salt
- Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat
- Add rice and cook, uncovered, until tender
- Turn off the heat, drain the rice thoroughly, and return to the pot for seasoning, or serve
This takes about 10-13 minutes for long grain white rice, but will take less time if the rice has been parboiled. Check the instructions on the packaging to confirm.
The advantage of this method is clear. When you cook rice like pasta you don’t have to double check the ratio of water to rice, or measure the water. You also don’t have to watch the stove quite as closely, since there’s no risk of the bottom burning. If you’ve had trouble with steamed rice in the past, give this technique a spin with one of these recipes: